Before the Lumiere Brothers gave the world the its first movie camera, explorers would send home written dispatches and paintings or sketches of their finds. Still pictures would soon follow, but the film industry grew in concert with the renewed interest in exploration. So when early Twentieth Century explorers set out they would bring along movie cameras to document their exploits.
Most of that work would ultimately wind up in the archive of the Royal Geographical Society
. Now, after 100 years in some cases, the RGS is digitizing and releasing this archival footage for all to see*.
* - "All" seems to be limited to subjects of the Crown for now.
Included in this first batch of films is the first manned flight over Mt.Everest by Major Stewart Blacker and Ralph Bagnold's Libyan adventures. Bagnold would go on to found Britain's Long Range Desert Groupin WWII, and the Bagnold Dunes on Mars are named after him.
Originally Posted by Pallab Ghosh
Blacker and his friends risked their lives flying in specially built biplanes, higher than anyone had flown before, to capture historic footage. Alasdair MacLeod, who is in charge of the project for the RGS, says that the film is one of more than a hundred in the RGS's possession that will be put online this year.
"The society has a collection of over two million items. It's the world's largest collection of geographically related maps, photographs, artefacts, diaries, notebooks and publications. And this film collection, which has been housed at the British Film Institute's national archive for many years, has not been made more accessible."
Full article: Britain's Great Explorations Now On-line
Stop by here
for several clips courtesy of the Beeb.
Full-fledged Britishers can drop in on
the BFI's site to check out the films in their entirety. The rest of us are stuck with trying to figure out a way around geographic restrictions!